The USMMA wrestling team has been picked to finish fifth at the 2014 Centennial Conference Championships in a preseason vote of the league's head coaches. The Mariners finished the event fifth in 2013 after compiling a 6-9 dual meet record, including a 4-4 mark in conference dual meets. Merchant Marine is a four-time Centennial Conference Champion, capturing league titles in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. Ursinus was selected to repeat as conference champions, receiving six first-place votes.
USMMA will enter the 2013-14 campaign with three wrestlers in the D3wrestle.com rankings. Branden Yeik (Bremerton, WA), a2013 NCAA qualifer, enters the year ranked ninth at 157 pounds. Bernard Watson (Fort Morgan, CO) and Tyler Russell (Georgetown, ME) are listed as honorable mentions in the poll at 149 and 197 pounds, respectively. Senior Josh Miller (Jackson Hole, WY) also returns to the USMMA lineup after finishing second at last year's Centennial Conference Championships and sixth at the Eastern Regional Qualifer at 174 pounds.
The Mariners also welcome a talented freshman class to the Academy as many will look to have an immediate impact. Brian Walker (Huntsville, AL) comes to Kings Point as a NHSCA National Champion, three-time NHSCA All-American, and a two-time Alabama State Champion as a heavyweight. Alexander Nicosia (New Orleans, LA) is listed at 141/149 and is a three-time Louisiana State Champion. Patrick Rooney (Belgrade, MN) joins the USMMA roster at 174 pounds and is a 2013 Minnesota state runner-up and reached the NHSCA round of 12. William Hardin (Oxford, AL), who is slated to compete at 133 pounds, finished in the Alabama State top-three twice and reached the NHSCA round of 12.
Nathan Twito (Ames, IA) is a three-time state qualifer and took seventh place in his senior season. Isaac Hammonds (Dover, OH) was an Ohio state qualifer while Jack Walsh (Glen Allen, VA) was a two-time Virginia qualifer. The 2013 recruiting class is rounded out by Geoffrey Bilder (Cocoa Beach, FL), Xander Coburn (Londonderry, NH), and Andrew Keane (Cameron Park, CA). Merchant Marine will also benefit from the return of Mike Mui (Hingham, MA), who missed all of his freshman year in 2012-13 with an injury. Mui, who wrestles at 125 pounds, was a three-time state champion in Massachusetts and a NHSCA All-American.
Fans can check out the preview on D3Wrestle.com by clicking here: http://www.d3wrestle.com/?p=6282